Welcome to another episode of Papa PhD. This week I have the pleasure of sharing one of the longest interviews of the season, but also one of the most jam-packed with insights and advice on how to take control of your career as a PhD, be it in academia our outside of it. So be sure to have pen and paper before hitting play on this Papa PhD interview with Mark Herschberg!

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Mark’s academic journey
  • The motivation behind his book – The Career Toolkit
  • Why time spent developing career skills is well invested
  • You shouldn’t take your career decisions in a vacuum – start talking to people about their careers now
  • How to network as an introvert
  • The cultural differences between academia and industry
  • Why you should negotiate compensation, not only salary
  • How building and updating a career plan can help you
  • How to find your place in an organization where you’re the first PhD
  • The importance of building your personal brand in today’s market
Mark Herschberg

Mark Herschberg is the author of The Career Toolkit, Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You. From tracking criminals and terrorists on the dark web to creating marketplaces and new authentication systems, Mark has spent his career launching and developing new ventures at startups and Fortune 500s and in academia. He helped to start the Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program, dubbed MIT’s “career success accelerator,” where he teaches annually. At MIT, he received a B.S. in physics, a B.S. in electrical engineering & computer science, and a M.Eng. in electrical engineering & computer science, focusing on cryptography. At Harvard Business School, Mark helped create a platform used to teach finance at prominent business schools. He also works with many non-profits, including Techie Youth and Plant A Million Corals. He was one of the top-ranked ballroom dancers in the country and now lives in New York City.

You can learn where to purchase “The Career Toolkit: Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You” at:


Thank you, Mark Herschberg!

If you enjoyed this interview with Mark, let him know by clicking the link below and leaving him a message on Twitter:

Click here to thank Mark Herschberg on Twitter!

Click here to share your key take-away from this interview with David!

Mark's pearls of wisdom:

“Negotiations are a skill that you should learn. So imagine the following scenario: You get a job outside of academia, you take your first industry job. Maybe you’re 30 years old. Let’s say they offer you 80,000 dollars and you negotiate to 81,000. Not a massive lift, right? We can all imagine doing that. If you do nothing else, you just sit in that job the rest of your career, you spend another 35 years working at this one job – you just made 35,000 dollars. One negotiation, tiny lift – 35,000 dollars. Now, imagine that you don’t just sit in one job, right? You, of course, takes other jobs. You get promotions, you negotiate those. Again, you negotiate for maybe just a few thousand more. These aren’t heavy lifts, you’re not some world class negotiator – you’re just doing a little better. You can literally add tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars to your lifetime income.”

“I am naturally an introvert. Here’s the thing – you think about that stereotype of a networker who does go to the conference and schmoozes everyone and gives out cards. Yeah, that’s not networking. It’s one way to do it, but that’s not the only way. If you’ve ever had a friend, you know how to network. It is just building a relationship. Now, it doesn’t mean everyone in your network is your personal fiend, right? There’s some people who are my friends and they’re in my network, there’s some people we’re just business contacts. We don’t hang out on weekends, but we can call each other, reach out, and we have a relationship. So don’t think about “I have to go to a room and I have to go and meet lots of people, and it’s overwhelming. Think of it one-on-one – I need to meet this person, chat, develop a relationship over time. And figuring out where do you find these people – it is anywhere. So, you can start with your university and start, obviously, with people in your department, you can talk with people in neighboring departments, you can talk with people in other departments.”

This episode’s resources:

  • Mark Herschberg | LinkedIn
  • Mark Herschberg | Twitter
  • Website | TheCareerToolkitBook.com
  • Mark’s recommended readings: The Charisma Myth, by Olivia Fox Cabane; A PhD is Not Enough, by Peter J. Feibelman; Getting to Yes, by Roger Fisher and William Ury

Do you enjoy Papa PhD? Leave me a comment here – one short sentence is enough! And be sure to include your Twitter handle – that way, I can thank you personally! Or if you prefer, fuel my long audio editing and notes page writing nights by buying me a coffee! Just click on the button below and voilà! An espresso, a cappucino, a latte – you decide. I’ll be immensely grateful.

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